Most of us are not in the habit of describing Cognac as bold, but if C by Courvoisier is any indication, we may want to get used to it. The company’s new brandy is a blast of intense flavors perfect for cigar pairing.
Jim Beam’s Cognac house is introducing its latest in a spate of innovative brandy products, and it comes as an intense blend of Fin Bois eaux-de-vie that go through a double-barreled aging process aimed at a full-bodied style.
Patrice Pinet, the Courvoisier master blender, reports that “C” is first aged in young barrels for intensity of flavor and then transferred to mature barrels “to round out the taste profile and deliver a silky finish.”
The grapes for the small-batch Cognac were selected from 50 winegrowers from the Fin Bois subregion of the Cognac appellation. Cognac is brandy that is made from grapes that are grown, fermented, distilled and aged in the region of the same name in France. The area is further divided into such subregions as Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Borderies. The eaux-de-vie of Fin Bois are known for their bold, but soft fruity and floral flavors.
“C” follows Courvoisier’s release last year of Courvoisier Rosé, a combination of its Cognac with red wine from France. The drink is underproof and not listed as Cognac. The company also recently created its Connoisseur Collection—the first Cognacs with declared age statements (12 and 21 years) from any of the four major Cognac houses (Hennessy, Remy Martin, Martel, e.g.).
This latest release certainly delivers on its promised boldness. While it doesn’t approach the complexity of say an XO, it displays plenty of flavor with interesting contrasts. It’s an easy match for full-bodied cigars and the company also touts it for some big-flavor cocktails, such as the C All-Star.
C All-Star Cocktail
1 part C by Courvoisier
2 parts fresh lemon juice
1/2 part fresh orange juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
(Tasting notes and cigar pairing on page 2)
C by Courvoisier (80 proof or 40 percent alcohol by volume, $34.99)
APPEARANCE: Quite a deep amber color with very slow, shapely legs.
NOSE: The aroma is a fascinating meeting of the candied and the tart. Fruit and flowers dominate, but cloves come through. There’s also a bread dough component that’s reminiscent of fine, aged Tequila.
PALATE: Deep candy flavors come on immediately with a bit of a sourball effect. Its fruit is solidly orange peel, with a bit of lime. The dough from the bouquet hangs on with a bit of menthol effect that’s also slightly toasty.
FINISH: The finish is smooth enough that you almost don’t notice it at first, and then out pops that orange peel, almost like a rich Curacao. Just before it fades, it gets very toasty.
CIGAR PAIRING: Don’t be afraid to go big and bold with this. We paired this to great effect with the Litto Gomez Diez Chisel, the ballsiness of which the brandy had no trouble standing up to, even while it imparted welcome fruit and sweetness. However, we’re excited to try with slightly milder cigars, as well.